'Give Karnataka Rs 2,064 cr drought relief at the earliest': CM's appeal to Modi

Kumaraswamy's meeting with Modi comes in the backdrop of the Prime Minister accusing the state government of delaying distribution of drought relief funds.
'Give Karnataka Rs 2,064 cr drought relief at the earliest': CM's appeal to Modi
'Give Karnataka Rs 2,064 cr drought relief at the earliest': CM's appeal to Modi
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Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy on Saturday met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and sought the early release of Rs 2,064.30 crore funds as relief for drought-hit farmers. Kumaraswamy's office, which released a statement, said that the Chief Minister had informed PM Modi that the state had faced a massive drought during the kharif season, too, and that the financial assistance sanctioned by the central government was inadequate.

Apart from the floods in Kodagu, Karnataka has been reeling under drought, both during kharif and rabi seasons of the 2018-19 crop year (July-June). "Consecutive droughts, flood has brought farmers under distress and it is the time to rush to their aid", Kumaraswamy told the Prime Minister. He requested Modi to release Rs 2,064.30 crore for drought relief and mitigation, the statement said.

The Karnataka government has submitted the memorandum as crop loss is estimated to be Rs 11,384.7 crore. The state had declared drought in 156 out of 176 talukas in 2018.

Currently, the state government has released Rs 386 crore from the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) and has given priority to drinking water availability and fodder, besides creating Rs 1.19 crore man-days jobs under the MGNREGA scheme, the CM's statement reads.

"The state government has advanced Rs 1,351 crore towards payment of pending wage and material bills in anticipation of release of central funds and I request the Centre early release of funds to make further wage payments," it adds.

The Chief Minister has also stated that the Rs 949 crore released by the centre for drought relief was not enough as the state government had demanded Rs 2,434 crore for the kharif season.

"This is less than 50% of the input subsidy claim by the state. The crop loss during the kharif and rabi seasons together is estimated to be Rs 32,335 crore," Kumaraswamy added.

Kumaraswamy's meeting with the Prime Minister comes just days after Modi's speech in Raichur, where he accused the Karnataka government of not sending in the list of farmers eligible for drought relief to the Union government.

"There are some such governments. They think by transferring money into the accounts of farmers, Modi will hog all limelight. To avoid this, this Karnataka government has stabbed the backs of the people. This power-intoxicated Congress and remote-controlled Chief Minister (HD Kumaraswamy) have so far not given the list of farmers to us. They are depriving the farmers of their right. They know that there are no middlemen as the money is to be directly credited to farmers' accounts," PM Modi had said on Wednesday during his speech at Raichur.

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